HOUSE OF FLESH MANNEQUINS
Director: Domiziano Cristopharo
Writer: Domiziano Cristopharo
Stars: Domiziano Arcangeli, Irena A. Hoffman and GiovanniRadice
Reviewed by: Char Hardin
Category: Dark Hopeless Drama
“By far the best performance I have seen from Domiziano Arcangeli. His portrayal of Sebastian…simply flawless.”
A young boy, Sebastian was used for his father’s experiment. He grows up with a camera thrust into his daily existence and in doing so loses his identity, over the course of the experiment. As an adult photographer and filmmaker, he meets a woman who looks past his shyness and wants to learn more about him. Sebastian allows the woman into his world and shows his film with pride of what was done to him by his father.
Irena A. Hoffman is beautiful and attentive of Sebastian; she has her own scars to bear. She showed an interest in the shy neighbor and becomes wrapped up in Sebastian’s world. A strange twist of events will show Sarah in a different light.
The film shows many bizarre acts including masturbation, snuff victims, eating of glass, body piercing, graphic sex acts. I knew before hand the nature of this film and the brutal visuals that I would be viewing and I must say, I expected more than what I saw. There is a scene where Sebastian peeps through windows at men and women in various sex acts, one where a person is standing on glass then eating glass, another where a person is being hand sewn. Morbid and yet it was titillating for Sebastian, for me the viewer, it was heavily shadowed and dark and disturbing and it made me feel like a voyeur who in kind felt dirty for viewing. This movie made me feel uncomfortable and when the credits rolled I breathed a sigh of relief.
The hardest part was not in viewing this film, but writing a review that’s fair and does the filmmaker justice. I fear this type of film is just not my cup of tea. And as for my personal tastes in horror movies, I didn’t like it. House of Flesh Mannequins is not the typical horror. It is one I would say is more of Art Horror. Although it’s a new trend perhaps only to me, as this type of ART has been around long time. Not much is known to me of Art Horror or more Avant guarde films where perhaps, this could be categorized as too radical or too experimental with themes not of my tastes.
Throughout the whole film, there was one emotion that stuck with me… disgust. IF the director Domiziano Cristopharo’s was seeking to shock the viewers he succeeded plus making me feel uncomfortable. I didn’t like the nature of the film, but it doesn’t mean others will feel the same.
One of the stars of this film is Domiziano Arcangeli who portrayed Sebastian. I have been watching many of his films in the last few months and out of all of them, this role is by far the best I have seen from Domiziano. He was not just a man playing a part…what he did seemed effortless. His merging with this character was flawless. His character was a question mark. He was strange, aloof, coy, disturbed, lonely, sad, searching, intriguing, and the Domiziano had one of the coolest scenes with what happened in the story to his chest. I won’t say. I don’t want to spoil it. But it was bloody good. In the special features, the behind-the-scenes making of the film gave details on his particular scene. I would like to see more films with Domiziano and the intensity he brought Sebastian, in future roles.
Irena Hoffman is new to me, as most of my readers know, I am still learning who’s who in Indie Horror films. She portrayed Sarah, Sebastian’s beautiful neighbor. Irena was curious and she couldn’t help but be drawn to Sebastian as she invaded his private life and became immersed in his world. Sarah, at first was repulsed by Sebastian’s films, but she looked past the horror and developed a connection with him. Although Sara was beautiful she was living scars of her own. All of which come out in the film, and not in the review…t’would spoil the film. This was my first viewing of Irena Hoffman and I hope not my last.
This is the part of the review, where I say whether or not I would recommend the film whether as a purchase to add to your collection or out of curiosity to look for as a rental. I am torn, so I am going to say look for it if you like graphic sex, violence, disturbing thematic material and are fans of ArtHorror. It’s a miss for me, but may be a hit with some of you. Seek it out and leave your comments here. 6/10.
You can find a copy of the film at http://mvdb2b.com/s/HouseOfFleshMannequins/EE4821
Comment from Director Domiziano Cristopharo:
"This is a great review too. My English unfortunately doesn’t help the to get all the transparency in the language, but seems like that the journalist "admit" to don’t "get the movie" when writing the article she shows to get it totally and in a ...very deep way! When I read, “for me the viewer, it was heavily shadowed and dark and disturbing and it made me feel like a voyeur who in kind felt dirty for viewing. This movie made me feel uncomfortable and when the credits rolled I breathed a sigh of relief" I remembered exactly what me and Domi said always about our intent filming this. Sebastian is the voyeur of the movie but the real voyeurs should be the audience; why? Because all the people that watch this movie will watch it because they know about the contents of the movie itself... extreme contents. "I knew before hand the nature of this film and the brutal visuals that I would be viewing and I must say, I expected more than what I saw.” Exactly that. "House of Flesh Mannequins is not the typical horror. It is one I would say is more of Art Horror. “I never described it as horror too... I always thought about it as a drama... a dark hopeless drama. The label horror sometimes brought to the movie fortune but also can create confusion. The acting is great and I will add to the list Lombardo Radice and Randal Malone too. I love the way how this movie share the people's opinions in 2 radical opposites. And also in people that doesn’t like it at all, we can see they cannot avoid to be trapped by the movie and find anyway its negative desperate message hidden behind the art language of the body. :) Thank you again and sorry for my English!"
Char, "This is the kind comment left on my facebook page. I wrote this review 12 times and struggled in how to get my feelings across and the whole time I was viewing it the way it was meant to be experienced! Cool!"